The surprising resilience of the Old in New Media

Last time, we said we like the New Yorker because we love writing and reading.

We also said we’re not that keen on digital writing because it looks awful and it’s full of distractions.

For once, somebody up there agrees with us. As the Guardian tells us, the New Yorker’s recent website redesign keeps true to the organ’s branding, but is tailored to two trends in web content. Two trends you wouldn’t realise are trends considering the usual approach to online writing.

  1.  There is a high demand online for long-form journalism. The New Yorker site’s most popular piece is 25,000 words long.
  2. The audience for long copy only wants to read it if it looks nice and it’s easy on the eye, with minimal distractions.

On the New Yorker’s new site, that translates to clear, old fashioned serif fonts in larger typefaces, a lot of white space, and hyperlinks in unobtrusive black rather than management consultancy blue. Just like we don’t have.

If you read their site on a standard resolution monitor, you’ll notice that copy in their articles is always margined to mimic the width of a page in a paperback novel.

It turns out books are formatted that way for a reason. It’s the easiest way for us to read.

So in honour of the occasion, here are a few things that’ve been declared “dead” in recent years that you might be seeing a lot of in the future:

  1. Copywriting.
  2. Long copy.
  3. Journalism.
  4. Books.
  5. Writing.
  6. Reading.
  7. Vinyl. (Not that it really has anything to do with this.)